NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING FOREVER
Emma Mathews never believed she was like everyone else, but neither did she think herself crazy. Meeting Joe Castlellaw, Henry Dearborn High’s newest student, was like waking on a cold rock in a strange place, the world bathed in liquid moonlight. Everything is different now…and fraught. Visions of a dark forest, a screaming woman and blood have begun to haunt Emma’s dreams, and not only at night. But Joe’s lonely beauty makes her float on air, and she would follow him anywhere–out of high school and through the great tree, to a world of poetry and political savagery, of magic and murder, to a life that is entirely theirs and yet unlike anything they have ever known.
About the Author
More than a little obsessed with Keats and Moby Dick and fueled by loud music and cold grey days, Mary Beth Bass is the author of young adult fantasy and romantic women’s fiction. Her debut paranormal-women’s fiction hybrid, Follow Me received the Book Buyers Best Award for Time Travel, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.
An occasional travel writer, Mary Beth has written about Paris, Bordeaux, and Yorkshire, where she hiked the moors to the legendary setting for Wuthering Heights and stood breathless in the parsonage room where Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bronte talked out their stories with each other.
And if I seem a little strange, well that’s because I am.
Also loves octopuses.
The majority of words in the stream-of-consciousness list I chose to describe everything you know were bleak. Even though I only had to choose three words for this post I worried that any of them would make the book seem depressing and off-putting. Then I remembered that there is no light without darkness, and that the kind of beauty that makes life worth living, the kind of beauty worth living for is not easily won. Emma’s sister Maude’s favorite poet says, “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.” Maybe that’s the nature of life, light inside darkness, darkness inside light.
3 Words that Describe, everything you know (a not-too depressing young adult fantasy):
Loneliness: At the beginning of everything you know Emma’s long-time best friend Izzy has moved on. Emma is stuck in that particularly empty coldness that comes from being shut out of a happiness you never questioned. Joe doesn’t even have that. His life until Emma is about protecting his mother, and the solace he gets from books, and from trying to imagine a different, better future for himself.
Family: A big family like Emma’s – she has four siblings – can feel like a mixed blessing. Someone always has your back, but you are also one of many fighting for attention, distinction, and affection. At the beginning of the story Emma defines herself against her siblings: brilliant Turner, beautiful Maude, popular Elizabeth, and adorable Sandy. She identifies herself by what she thinks she isn’t instead of by what she is. As Emma is challenged by the revelation that her parents have been lying about who they are and where they come from, and that the one person she trusts, Joe, is the reason for that lie, she begins to find the strength in herself to make the necessary choices no one else is making. As the situation grows to be almost more than she can handle, Emma is grateful to be part of a big, noisy, sometimes contentious group of people who will do anything for each other. Joe is fiercely protective of his unconventional, outsider artist mother. It has only ever been the two of them. He longs for some kind of connection with his mysterious birth family but those hopeful feelings are tangled up in anger at being abandoned, and a fear he’s shared with no one until Emma, that his birth parents left him because there was something unforgivably wrong with him. Questions about his birth family alternately drive and cripple Joe until just before the end of the story.
Sacrifice: Sacrifice is a tricky concept, most easily understood, or maybe most palatable, as the sacrifice a parent makes for a child. The idea of giving up something essential, of choosing to endure a loss that can’t be recovered from in order to help another person is hard to think about. Actual sacrifice hurts or it’s just another form of generosity. We don’t quite know what to make of it or how to look at it. Or maybe I don’t because I’m going on about it for so long before I get to the sacrifices made by characters in everything you know. “Everyone has a price” is a cynical, if at least partially truthful way of looking at the world. The flip side of that is everyone has something or someone for whom they’d give up anything. Different kinds of sacrifices drive almost every event in everything you know. Eury Vatic, Emma’s parents, Joe, Emma, her sister Maude, her brother Turner, her cousin Isohel, all risk something vital. Sacrifice is a selfless act, but the alternative is often unthinkable. Parents put the safety of their children before their own safety. Lovers put each other’s lives before their own. Ideas that make the world a better place are worth fighting for.
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